Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Ode to Derna


by Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University
Originally read for the
Rocky Mountain MLA’s
50-Somethingth Conference
in conjunction with
a showing of the movie
Planet of Dinosaurs
Maybe 1998? Salt Lake?
I don’t remember.

Dearest Derna, dancer of desire,
it’s here at RMMLA that I . . . [e]r-
-aise my voice in iambic pentameters
to try to sketch for you the vague parameters
of my desire for you, and for your slinky
desire-arousing dancing in this stinky
cheesy putrid atrocity of a movie.

Derna, darling Derna, you’re so groovy:
from your toes to your hiphuggers to your hair,
your style is fab! I can’t believe that Cher
has stolen your look — that gypsy that tramp that thief!

And you’ve suffered more humiliating grief
when in the swamp you fell upon your ahss
and Captain Lee accused you of the loss:
“reduc[ing] our survival by one gun!”
With one more gone, survival would just be . . . “one”!
(At survival math I’m simply not that clever;
but to quote you, fairest Derna, “um, whatever.”)

You helped collect the twigs for the stockade.
You run so well from every dino raid.
I love the way you quit your job with lipstick
and refused to get the water for that dipstick
whose father hired you as a concubine
to Harvey Baylor, Spaceways V.P. swine.

It’s major bogus that you’re viewed a harlot;
you are like totally better than, like, Charlotte.
At least you wear more clothes than shirtless Chuck,
that whiney mythonium-eating stupid f– . . . cluck.
Nor are you dumb, moronic, dense, or dim,
like Nyla, Cindy, Charlotte — no wait, I already mentioned her — uh, Mike, or Jim.

Suffice to say, dear Derna, I adore ya
a lot more than the species Dinosauria.
I leave you on your dinosaurian planet
and return to watch this cheesy movie, dammit.